What a Leader Looks Like at Age 21

I try to expose you to young leaders who are modeling the way for others on my blog, from time to time. Today—I’d like you to meet Alysse Whatley. She is on the left in this picture, along with our Vice President, Holly Moore and Courtney McLane, another outstanding summer intern. She served as one of our summer interns this year, and quite frankly, amazed our team with her confidence, initiative and ability to get things done.

It shouldn’t have surprised us, however, because Alysse came with a track record. She is s rising senior at the University of Georgia. All through high school she was part of the GSLT: Gwinnett Student Leadership Team (she was one of the top teen leaders in Gwinnett County). While attending UGA full-time, Alysse serves as the executive director of UGA Heroes, a non-profit organization created to serve and support kids who’ve been infected with HIV.  She oversees hundreds of student volunteers, as well as an executive board of directors (who are adults) and she raises $450,000 each year. Other than that—she is bored (just kidding).

Alysse is a fantastic example of so many young leaders who get involved in causes and surprise people with what they can pull off—primarily because those causes get under their skin. I have noticed that young leaders become passionate about organizations and missions that embrace three qualities:

1. They are big. Young people love to jump into a cause that is huge. In fact, I have said for years: students love projects that are very important and almost impossible.

2. They are selfless. Students and adults alike are magnetically drawn to causes that are not about the leader, or about money, but about helping the marginalized.

3. They are simple. When ideas or projects are simple to understand or get involved with—they attract students to lead them and many others to support them.

I share Alysse’s story with you to remind you that Generation iY could just become the greatest generation in American history. I say that with one caveat. They have the potential to do this if we re-think the way we lead, teach and parent them. Alysse has responded to mentors and now illustrates what a great leader looks like at age 21. Do you know any young leaders like this?  Can you post their story below?


P.S. Here’s a fun video from Alysse’s sendoff last Friday.

What a Leader Looks Like at Age 21